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Backyard Birding: Identifying App

Last weekend I was out walking the dogs along the Kissing Bridge trail near Wallenstein in Woolwich township, when I saw a unique bird on the ground in front of us.   First, I thought it was a wren.  It was the same size and shape – but there was more yellow.

In less than a minute, I was able to correctly identify the bird as a common yellow throat.  (clearly not as common to me)

I do not hold myself out as a seasoned bird watcher.   I don’t carry a field guide with me on walks, but I do have a great, free app on my phone called “Merlin” by the Cornell Ornithology Lab.    When you first download it to your phone, you will be asked what bird file to download.   You can download different files, from different parts of the world.   I only used Canada and the US due to size of the files.

Once you have the app installed, you are ready to begin the bird ID. First, it will ask your current location – the GPS on your phone is great for this.  Then it will walk you through the date, size of bird, main colours and where the bird was (on the ground, in a tree, flying, etc.).   Merlin will then generate a list of possible birds.

You can scroll through different pictures, both male and female, and also listen to the bird songs to positively identify the bird.  Once you have positively identified the bird, it will update the Merlin database for accuracy.

Give this app a try.   Go to your app store and search “Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab”

Happy Birding!

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